Atop It All

If you’re physically on top of a thing or place — a mountain, a skyscraper — what type of scene do you want to share in your frame?

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

For this week’s photo challenge, ATOP, self pulled from her Archive:

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Fall 2016: Main Lobby of the de Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: View from the 2nd Floor

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Summer 2016: The Tate Modern is housed in what used to be the Battersea Power Station. In keeping with its industrial spirit, everything in the Tate Modern has that utilitarian feel. Even the restaurant, on the 6th floor. It’s called The Kitchen. The Harry Potter Bridge (Formal Name: the Millenium Bridge) is to the right.

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Spring 2015: The Portrait Café, British National Portrait Gallery

Note to dear blog readers: The Portrait Cafe hosts an afternoon tea, which is booked weeks in advance. The day self showed up, early March, she could not get a seat. So if you would like to see this fabulous view while having tea, book in advance.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ATOP: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 15 March 2017

For this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, ATOP, self goes back to the pictures she took of a London church she visited in 2015. She’s not sure if she’s interpreting the theme correctly (“a view from the top”) but she’ll post this anyway.

Two years ago, self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge. She took The Infernal Devices trilogy with her to the UK, and decided to plan her days around places cited in the books.

In her website, author Cassandra Clare says she used St. Bride’s near Fleet Street as the titular setting for the Shadowhunters Academy. And self did get to see this church. And it was one of the most beautiful churches she had ever seen.

You can see an exhibit on the history of St. Bride’s in the crypt. The spire was designed by Christopher Wren. Building began in 1671 and was completed in 1703:

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Rendering of the Steeple of St. Bride’s (aka “The Church of Journalists”) Just Off Fleet Street

The steeple was destroyed during the Blitz (see newspaper headline below).

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World War II London Newspaper

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A Modern Rendering of the Christopher Wren Steeple

The steeple has been rebuilt; you can see it from the top floor of the National Portrait Gallery. It’s a long, slim needle that feels surprisingly at home with the modernistic buildings surrounding it.

Self returned to St. Bride’s last year, with poet Joan McGavin. The main space was closed for refurbishing, but the crypt was still open to the public. While Joan went down to look at the exhibit, self chatted with a clergyman, who asked what brought her to St. Bride’s. And she said, Shadowhunters. He was highly amused.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Book # 1: Unit # 1, Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Am just freshly arrived in Annaghmakerrig.

The first task is to catalogue all the books this Unit holds.

Self was in this same unit last year. But she was not very organized. Not like she is now.

The first book she settles on is Thames Way (Alba Publishing, 2015), by Diarmuid Fitzgerald. There’s a dedication: To the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, February 2017

The man was literally just here.

He elected to walk the length of the Thames from the city of London to its source, a distance of about 170 miles. (Reminds self of one of her favorite books, read 2016: Matsuo Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, about a journey Basho took in the 17th century, on the old Edo circular road. He also wrote it in haiku.)

The book is divided into three sections: Lower, Middle, and Upper.

From Lower:

no one wishes me
well on my long way
except for one old man

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More of the Road Taken: London, March 2017

Today’s edition of The Road Taken is London.

Oh what a glorious morning. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. Self enjoys looking out at the garden:

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Bedford Place, London

Last night, self attended Evensong at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The celebrant asked the congregation to pray for the United States, so that its leaders may have “consideration.” Afterwards, self headed toward Trafalgar Square:

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Sunday Evening, Trafalgar Square

A few days ago, self met up with old friends Dodo and Helene (who grew up in the Philippines with her). They took her to see the minster at Beverley. We got to the town just before twilight, and the old stone of Beverley Minster seemed to glow:

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Beverley Minster at Twilight

Travel lately has become extremely arduous, but it still gives self the purest joy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Road Taken: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 1 March 2017

Show us something that delighted or surprised you on “the road taken.”

— Krista, The Daily Post

  • Tree-house, Backyard of Doris Duterte Stutely in Driffield, East Riding
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Tree-houses are fabulous. Self would like to live in one.

  • Before the Daly City Council Meeting, Monday 13 February 2017: Nikki S. Victoria, Filipina activist, greets fellow members of the community who volunteered to speak on behalf of making Daly City a Sanctuary City:
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If ever there was a time to speak up, it is now: City Hall, Daly City, February 2017

  • It is always exciting to discover a new museum. The below was one block away from self’s hotel in Washington DC, where she had flown to read for Quarterly West at downtown bar-restaurant Sixth Engine:
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Lobby of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC: Tour Guide, lower left

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Good Match 3: London Cabbie

Ben Huberman, The Daily Post:

In my book, coffee, sparkling water, and a donut (okay, I confess: a fancy donut) make one such perfect combination. Sweet and bitter, cold and hot, smooth and fizzy — all these sensations come together to create a coherent, “this morning is going to be just fine” experience.

So here is self’s idea of a a good match:

Arriving in London and taking a cab from the airport. It is not cheap. But it pays off in spades because the cabbies are very interesting conversationalists. They know more about London than the average person. Most of them grew up in London. They can tell you where the best street markets are, where the best fish and chip shops are, and where St. Bride’s Church is. (If you are in a rush, this is not the mode of transport for you. It takes almost an hour, esp if you arrive during rush hour. But why would you go to London to rush? Especially if traveling alone and not on a particular schedule?)

A few years ago, when self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge (Thank you, Cassandra Clare!) she followed the path of Will Herondale and it took her to: York; Blackfriars; and St. Bride’s.

St. Bride’s was not easy to find. She asked about three people, and no one had even heard of it. Until she saw a parked London cab, and asked the driver if he knew where it was. His prompt reply: “Course I do! I’m a London cabbie!”

Nick Townsend was the cabbie who drove her in from Heathrow. He owns his own cab, and is a certified city guide:

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Licensed City Guide (and Cab Driver) Nick Townsend proudly showed self his badge.

He talked about a church named St. Bartholomew the Less (The other, St. Bartholomew the Great, is next to the hospital. “Not that one,” he told self), which is a beautiful example, he said, of fine Norman (13th century) architecture.

He told self she must visit Sir John Soane’s Museum, which has candlelight tours “every last Tuesday of the month.”

He also told self about the Wallace Collection, which self has seen, but wouldn’t mind seeing again.

Self took notes.

London: oh, what a city. It is not cold. The rooms are damp. But go outside. Just keep going outside.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: MONTCALM and WOLFE, p. 138

“When left to himself, he always plunged into difficulties, and then shuddered for the consequences.”

— Horace Walpole, regarding the English Prime Minister, the Duke of Newcastle

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Against the Odds: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 15 February 2017

An unexpected victory? A snapshot of an unlikely moment? This week, show us something that defines the odds.

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

Last year, on the 2nd day of self’s trip to the UK, her camera shutter stopped opening all the way. Rather than buy a new camera, self decided to see how far she could push that old thing. And it lasted till the very end of her trip.

One of the last places she visited before returning home was Bletchley Park, about an hour train ride from London. Bletchley Park is where the World War II codebreakers did their work. According to the visitors’ brochure, “the Codebreakers’ efforts helped to shorten the war by up to two years, saving countless lives.” The codebreakers worked year-round in unheated wooden huts. “The first Enigma ciphers were broken in early 1940.”

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Bletchley Park: June 2016

Self took the picture below in Chinatown. She forgets which street it was on. It was either on Grant or on Stockton. Look closer at the words, and it turns out to be about Filipino immigration: the first immigrants faced discrimination. Caucasian women were not allowed to marry Asian immigrants, most of whom were single men. Yet, those early immigrants endured. Their descendants are all over California.

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Wall Mural, Chinatown, San Francisco

Anne-Adele Wight coordinates a monthly reading series at Head House Books in Philadelphia. She is a published poet. Just before June’s event, she hurt her knee and had to wear a brace. But — the show must go on!

She is fantastic.

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Anne-Adele Wight introducing speakers at the Head House reading series, which she coordinates: Philadelphia, June 2016

So there are self’s examples of “Against the Odds,” which is a very, very interesting photo challenge.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Paths

Halfway through the year, I’ve found myself in a new home, adapting to things on a daily basis, and realizing how important it is to slow down and recognize (and enjoy) the winding path I’m on.

— Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post

“Slow down” — what a wonderful sentiment for the day after Christmas.

Below, three versions of PATH:

A corridor in the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art:

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The New San Francisco MOMA

The approach to the City from 101:

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Approaching San Francisco on the 101 North

Stairs leading to the second level of the British Museum:

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British Museum, Great Russell Street, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Anticipation 2: SFMOMA, Hometown Creamery, London’s Millenium Bridge

This week, share a photo that says ANTICIPATION. — Michelle W., The Daily Post

Art excites self, it always has. Here, people milling about in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, level 2:

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When you are in Hometown Creamery on Irving Street: Mango sorbet and fig tart excite.

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Hometown Creamery, Irving St., San Francisco: November 2016

And nothing speaks of anticipation more than crossing London’s Millenium Bridge (aka the Harry Potter Bridge) towards St. Paul’s.

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London’s Millenium Bridge: No better approach to Saint Paul’s

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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